Successful International Conference held on Migration in/from the Arab World

The International Conference “A Century of Migration, Displacement and Diaspora: Demographic Shifts in the Arab World 1917-2017” convened in Limassol-Cyprus (November 30- December 3, 2017) and was hosted by the Bethlehem-based Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture in collaboration with the Christian Academic Forum for Citizenship in the Arab World (CAFCAW).

Academic researchers from 11 countries and 24 regional and international universities participated in the conference” that provided a forum for sharing numerous approaches of migration studies in an ecumenical and intercultural atmosphere. Papers ranged from demographic and socio-economic researches to anthropological and political analyses, and religious/spiritual responses to changing contexts.

The first session on Lebanon and Syria introduced the audience to the refugee crisis in Lebanon, and forced migration and international law with a special focus on the Syrian refugee crisis. The second session on Sweden was about the identity and mission of expatriate/diaspora Churches from the Middle East, and the work with asylum seekers and newly settled persons in the Church of Sweden’s Parishes in 2015 and 2016. The third session, dedicated to Germany and Austria, tackled the issues of border discourses, asylum and neo-colonial modernity and Arab refugees in Europe (the German case), Palestinian refugees from Lebanon in Germany – narratives, realities, perspectives: the case of Berlin in the 1980s, a study of failed integration and its consequences -, and Middle Eastern communities in Austria after 2015. The fourth session was about Egypt with a focus on Coptic migrants – immigration and diversity of discourses, followed by “The Parrot” film screening produced by Deema Azar on stories of displacement in 1948 Palestine. The fifth session on the Gulf included the following topics: Art, Peace and Migration in Dubai – the title of my paper -; and Economic migration in the Arabian Gulf: The religious and socio-cultural impact off the Expatriate Church in a multi-national community. The sixth session was about the presentation of the findings of the latest poll regarding the migration of Palestinians from the West Bank. The seventh session was about migration viewed from Europe and the US, and the Humanitarian Corridors project. The last session was dedicated to a Youth Forum on Migration.

Scholars, researchers and activists sparked multilayered debates on current migration situations, dynamics and perceptions in Southwestern Asia, North Africa, Europe and North America. Panel discussions broke away from the norm and shook up the audience.  Stories of empowerment, empathy and cooperation were shared, as well as stories of discrimination, exploitation and marginalization. Certainly, the conference organizers succeeded in facilitating meaningful interchanges of varied viewpoints and brought the participants to a place where they felt confident in expressing their opinions while recognizing the fact that there was still so much that needed to be done.



Reverend Mitri Raheb


Reverend Victor Makari


Session 1 chaired by Mary Mikhael


Session II chaired by Hilary Rantisi, and Session III by Martina Wasserloos-Strunk


Session 4 with Khaled Elsayed


The Parrot film by Deema Azar


CAFCAW EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE LUNCH – November 30, 2017 with Mitri Raheb, Victor and Peter Makary, Mary Mikhael and Pamela Chrabieh


CAFCAW EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING with Mitri Raheb, Victor and Peter Makary, Mary Mikhael, Pamela Chrabieh and Maya Khadra


Session 5 – Gulf – with Pamela Chrabieh on Peace, Migration and Art in Dubai


Dr. Pamela Chrabieh


Pamela Chrabieh, Viola Raheb and Maya Khadra


Pamela Chrabieh, Mary Mikhael and Maya Khadra


Source: Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture


Source: Reverend Mitri Raheb Facebook Page







The Social Life of Memory: Violence, Trauma, and Testimony in Lebanon and Morocco

It’s been an honor and a pleasure to be working with this wonderful team. A special thank you to Norman Saadi Nikro and Sonja Hegazy.
The Social Life of Memory: Violence, Trauma, and Testimony in Lebanon and Morocco. Published by Palgrave Studies in Cultural Heritage and Conflict, December 2017.
The book stakes a critical claim for attending to the tension between the lieu and milieu of memory, a tension implicating site-specific social practices. It brings together research from scholars across the humanities and social sciences within a cohesive framework. It addresses themes of violence, trauma, and testimony to illustrate how they accrue conceptual relevance, and consequently a careful consideration of how concepts and theories “travel” and come to be exposed in different contexts and subsequently modified.
My contribution: “Ressouvenirs in Dialogue: University Students Tell Their War Stories” (p. 169-194)

Learning through Food at the American University in Dubai

I attended the 7th International Conference on Food Studies at Roma Tre University in Rome – Italy and presented a paper entitled ‘Learning through Food at the American University in Dubai’ on Friday, October 27, 2017.

My audience of foodies and food experts was introduced to the Peace Education approach I have been developing since 2004 in the academic sphere in Canada, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates, as well as to one of its main applications in the classroom: the food component. I also presented the results of a qualitative research I conducted from 2014 to 2017 at the American University in Dubai on the food learning experiences and food stories of more than 500 students enrolled in diverse Middle Eastern Studies courses.

The 7th International Conference on Food Studies was organized by the Food Studies Research Network that is curated by the Common Ground Research Networks. The Food Studies Research Network is brought together around an interest to explore new possibilities for sustainable food production and human nutrition, and associated impacts of food systems on culture.

Hosted by Gustolab International Institute for Food Studies and Roma Tre University , the conference’s scope and concerns were Food and Sustainability; Food, Nutrition and Health; and Food and Politics. Roma Tre University has always shown a tendency towards multidisciplinary research, and recently with a focus on sustainability through a new graduate degree in Innovation and Sustainability and a degree program in Gastronomic Sciences and Cultures. As for the Gustolab International Institute for Food Studies, it is a pioneering leader in Italy in developing study abroad and international education programs and research projects on Food Studies. Gustolab is the academic headquarters in this country for programs specialized on Food Culture, Communication, and Media and Nutrition for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. This Institute has also worked with more than 30 universities on study abroad programs, from the USA to Canada, France and Japan.

Gustolab organized a pre-conference workshop I attended on Wednesday, October 25, focused on Studying, Teaching and Doing Research on Food Studies in Italy. The objective of the workshop was to share and discuss opportunities for study and research in the food field with professors, students, researchers, and independent scholars who are interested in learning about study programs or doing research abroad. Attendees explored topics such as study abroad programs, culinary schools, master programs and internship programs. The material ranged from the social sciences to human, technological, biological, and agroecology sciences.

It is no surprise that the research interests of academics across a wide range of disciplines relate to food in some way. Food is at the center of our lives, cultures and religions, socio-political and legal systems, etc. Scholars in humanities for instance examine issues including the cultural significance and representation of food and food as an identity marker. Food Studies programs are now growing in popularity in North America and Europe. However, misconceptions are still found in our region i.e. Southwestern Asia and North Africa, and this is quite unfortunate. Food Studies is an important interdisciplinary field of study of food and of its relationship to the human experience that definitely needs to be promoted in local academic circles.

Fall 2017 Intercultural Banquet One of the sessions with my Cultures of the Middle East students dedicated to food sharing and hospitality, intercultural visceral experiences and learning about cultures of the Middle East through food.

Other culinary and food anthropology activities with my American University in Dubai students:


Further information on the Conference:



7th International Conference on Food Studies at Roma Tre University

It was such a pleasure to attend this inspiring gathering of minds and palates, foodies and food studies academics, and be able to share the results of my ongoing research at the American University in Dubai on Teaching and Learning about local cultures and religions through Food and my student’s visceral experiences in the classroom and their food stories.

Pamela Chrabieh Rome 2017 7th Conference on Food Studies

For more information:

Reeds from Red Lips – Dr. Pamela Chrabieh (American University in Dubai News)

AUD School of Arts and Sciences Associate Professor of Middle Eastern Studies Dr. Pamela Chrabieh has recently edited and published a book entitled Reeds from Red Lips on Arts and Gender in Southwestern Asia.

The book includes diverse stories told through poetry and prose in English, French, Modern Standard Arabic and Lebanese, and encompasses a selection of conceptual photography artworks, digital visuals, cartoons and paintings. It features established scholars, poets and authors, journalists, artists and students, from Southwestern Asia or living in the region: Dr. Pamela Chrabieh, Norah Al Nimer, Katia Aoun Hage, Malak El Gohary, Amal Chehayeb, Lana AlBeik, Dr. Frank Darwiche, Noor Husain, Joelle Sfeir, Maram El Hendy, Dr. Omar Sabbagh, Karma Bou Saab, Farah Nasser, Haeley Ahn, Masooma Rana, Sandra Malki, Maya Khadra and Nour Zahi Al-Hassanieh.

In her book foreword, Dr. Chrabieh explains that the diversity of Southwestern Asian voices is “so vast that it is unlikely to work on an exhaustive review, and this is definitely not the goal of the book; neither is it to obtain a fixed view of the gender and art relation (…).  The book gathers the visions, journeys, statements, biographies and artworks of some authors and artists who either self-define or reject the gender binary by emphasizing the fluidity of gender and subverting gender conformity. It also displays a mosaic of languages and local dialects, visual techniques and writing styles; reeds that vibrate and produce different sounds and pitch ranges out of empowered lips”.

According to Dr. Chrabieh, “most of those who contributed to this collective work are part of the Red Lips High Heels’ movement (, an online gathering project of writers and artists I launched in 2012 in Lebanon. This movement advocates peacebuilding, human rights and women’s rights in Southwestern Asia. (…) Southwestern Asia has unfortunately been too often stereotyped, viewed as homogeneous and demonized, but the authors and artists featured in this book deconstruct prejudices. They tell stories of the rich pasts and current diversities of this part of the world. They prove somehow that the local belongings, realities, memories and histories are quite complex, a mélange of grey zones and multiple shades”.

Dr. Chrabieh adds: “I would like to express my gratitude to the many peoples who have been providing support to the Red Lips High Heels’ movement since 2012 and to this book’s project. I would like to thank in particular the authors and artists who allowed me to publish their works and my assistant researcher Haeley Ahn for her dedication and valuable input in the editing, proofreading and design of the book. To my students and former students at the American University in Dubai: thank you for inspiring me with your life stories, talents, skills and knowledge”.

Reeds from Red Lips is available on
Kindle Edition ASIN: B0711D71C1